HONG KONG, May 20- Hong Kong shares jumped to their highest since early February on Monday, led by Chinese cyclical counters, as investors chased a resurgent mainland China market which looked set for its fourth-straight gain. Hong Kong markets were closed on Friday for a holiday.» Read More
*Brazil narrows reach of IOF tax on foreign loans. *Brazil real gains 0.8 percent, Mexico peso 0.2 percent stronger.
*Pentagon warned to begin preparing for spending cuts. WASHINGTON, Dec 5- Republicans and Democrats dug in on "fiscal cliff" talks on Wednesday, with both sides urging quick action but offering no compromises in a political stare-down that shows no signs of breaking.
NEW YORK, Dec 5- Weakness in U.S. gasoline futures weighed on oil prices o n W ednesday after data showed a sharp rise in U.S. refined products inventories, while disappointing euro zone and U.S. economic data hurt sentiment about energy demand.
WASHINGTON, Dec 5- The White House budget office has asked all federal agencies for information to finalize contingency plans for automatic spending cuts due to go into effect in January should the Obama administration fail to reach agreement to avert the reductions, the White House said on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON, Dec 5- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's staff has completed a study looking at whether rules implemented in 2010 were enough to shore up the $2.6 trillion money market fund industry, SEC commissioner Luis Aguilar said on Wednesday without providing any of the findings.
Move comes as U.S. retailers look to expand in Canada. TORONTO, Dec 5- A consortium led by Canada's KingSett Capital will offer about C $2.6 billion to acquire Primaris Retail REIT to bolster its portfolio of Canadian shopping malls at a time when U.S. retailers are looking to expand northward.
NEW YORK, Dec 5- Nasdaq accidentally canceled the initial public offering of WhiteHorse Finance Inc on Wednesday, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said. Nasdaq spokesman Joe Christinat said the company had no comment on the IPO beyond the emails sent out, one of which said, "All open and pending orders will be canceled back to customers."
NEW YORK, Dec 5- Oil prices fell again on Wednesday on demand worries in a sluggish global economy, but most other commodities showed slight gains as investors awaited progress in U.S. budget talks or other news that could bring vigor back to the markets.
*$10 bln vessel being built to ferry Australia gas to Asia. LONDON, Dec 5- Royal Dutch Shell, the world's biggest LNG company, will move the headquarters of its integrated gas business to Singapore from Europe as part of its quest to feed Asia's surging demand for the fuel, the company said on Wednesday.
NEW YORK, Dec 5- Advertising sales at Walt Disney Co's sports powerhouse ESPN are running slightly ahead of the level they reached at the same point last year, Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said on Wednesday.
*Deals allow Freeport to diversify into U.S. oil, gas. On paper the deal reshapes Freeport, with its mining profile largely outside the United States, and Plains and McMoRan concentrated in energy plays in California, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.
The SEC said Robert Cook, the director of the Trading and Markets Division, and Mark Cahn, the agency's general counsel, will be departing. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said last week that she will step down on Dec. 14.
*Yum Brands stock down more than 11 percent since warning. KFC parent Yum Brands Inc warned last week that it expected sales at established restaurants in China to fall 4 percent in the fourth quarter, despite an improvement in economic indicators such as consumer confidence and retail sales.
*Global economic activity at eight-month high- JPMorgan. Europe's recession, which began in the second quarter, has dragged on the world's economic output, hitting exporters from Shanghai to Los Angeles.
WASHINGTON, Dec 5- The Pentagon said on Wednesday that after months of delay it had been told by the White House budget office to begin planning to implement automatic spending cuts in January that would reduce defense outlays by $500 billion over the next decade.
*No veto powers but France wants regular briefings. France and Germany have agreed to control 12 percent each of the voting rights, handing Berlin a direct stake in the Airbus parent company for the first time.
*Banks cut head count, focus on efficiency. SAO PAULO, Dec 5- President Dilma Rousseff's government has pulled out all the stops to persuade Brazilian banks to lend more- pushing interest rates to an all-time low, leaning on state-run lenders, and even publicly shaming the industry for its high profits.
Dec 5- Freeport-McMoRan Copper& Gold is not diminishing its outlook on copper "in any fashion" despite a blockbuster $9 billion deal to acquire oil and gas assets, Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said on Wednesday.
Treasury said on Wednesday it wants Congress to adopt rules that would allow President Barack Obama to veto any denial of his request to increase the country's debt ceiling.
NEW YORK, Dec 5- U.S. stocks swung back to positive territory in late morning trading on Wednesday, led by gains in Dow components Caterpillar and The Travelers, while Citigroup's 5 percent gain boosted bank stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72.71 points, or 0.56 percent, to 13,024.49. The S&P 500 edged up 1.49 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,408.54.